Theatrical: ‘Iphigenia in Splott’

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In ancient Greek mythology, Iphigenia was the daughter of King Agememnon and Queen Clytemnestra, who was sacrificed to the gods to for a wind change which would allow the king to invade Troy. In the play ‘Ipghigenia in Splott’ in Smock Alley Theatre, Ipghgenia (Effie) is a hard boiled young woman in a hoodie, who terrorises her neighbours as she prowls the street of her estate. Hard drinking, tough-as-nails, she knows what people think of her. But she doesn’t care. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘Iphigenia in Splott’

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Theatrical: ‘Death of a Salesman’

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Was I interested in going to see a staged reading of a play? Well sure. A staged reading of a play is exactly that – the actors stand on stage and read the text out loud, to an audience. It is different from a table reading in that it is not merely the actors reading the play among themselves. There is an audience. It is a very preliminary stage of any production. So early that even if it not an original piece you generally don’t need to pay the writer to stage it. It can be a rewarding means of sourcing cheap entertainment. You are not getting a full on production. It is only semi-rehearsed, so it is not expected to be as impressive as a fully rehearsed and learned performance. Continue reading Theatrical: ‘Death of a Salesman’

University Blues

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Sunday yawned in front of me. I could have been productive and done some Christmas shopping. That’s what Christmas Eve is for though. I should have done some housework, but I have too much self-respect for that. I needed to do something though. On the spur of the moment I decided that I would go to Connolly Station and board the next train, and travel to whatever destination was on the schedule. Continue reading University Blues

To the barricades people!

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On Saturday, December 1, is the National Housing Demonstration, which convenes at 2pm at the Garden of Remembrance. It will demand action by the government to address the housing emergency which has been engulfing Ireland for several years. You might wonder why this matters to me. I live in a city centre apartment that I rent for an affordable price. The thing is though that I am extremely lucky. And luck isn’t infinite. An exact replica of my flat, on the next floor up, went on the rental market earlier this year for a price that is 70% higher than what I am paying. I live in a ‘rent pressure zone’ meaning that in theory my landlord is not supposed to increase my rent by more than 4% per year. Unless he wants to ‘renovate’. ‘Renovation’ is a loophole that allows landlords to evict tenants, paint a wall and then put the flat back on the market at whatever price it can raise. The former tenant has no redress. Continue reading To the barricades people!

Winter wastelands

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In eight days I will be paying a visit to my old stomping ground of Amsterdam for a friend’s very important birthday (i.e . the celebration of an age where the second digit is zero). It will only be a flying visit this time as my gluttony for leisure went unchecked this year – I have only twenty six minutes holiday leave remaining, for the rest of 2018. It’s unlikely I’ll see all the people that I would like to, but I will do my damnedest to see a few. It comes at a particularly appropriate time as I am currently wallowing in a pit of glumness, as November draws to a close. Having spoken before about how utterly soul-destroying the final fortnight in November is, I am reminded of the brutal reality as it is being endured. A trip to the Lowlands will be a tonic. The thundering incompetence of Dublin Bus comes into sharp relief each November as I wallow in rainy, dark misery on Parnell Street each morning for the 40D bus – also known as ‘The bus that never arrives’. This morning as I boarded, my nostrils were assaulted by a noxious odour of halitosis. How could anyone not be aware of the brutal reality of their oral stench? My eyes were watering by the time I finally disembarked in the eternally grey industrial wastelands of County Dublin. Continue reading Winter wastelands

My journey to hell

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I was working from home today and started to get cabin fever. Instead of sobbing softly over my usual home-made sandwich I decided to splash out for lunch. I glanced quickly over both shoulders as I entered – I didn’t want anyone to see me in the den of iniquity that would be providing my midday sustenance. I was getting a take-out meal at the new Boojum, which recently opened close to my house. Continue reading My journey to hell

Iceland adventures

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I had no expectations of Reykjavik or Iceland. This is not a criticism – far from it. It’s just that I was in possession of very little knowledge about the country – save for its location on a map; a very vague knowledge of its settlement; the fact that it was volcanic; the name of its capital city; and that Bjork hails from this North Atlantic island. When WowAir did a last-minute flash promotion from Dublin to Reykjavik, I booked on a whim. Continue reading Iceland adventures

Better out than in: Freddie Mercury and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody ‘

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For my edification I went to the cinema last night to see ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ in the eerie Odeon cinema at the Point (the cinema operating from the top floor of an abandoned shopping centre. This is the biopic of Farrokh Bulsara – the Parsi boy from Tanzania who moved with his family at the age of seventeen to Britain. He reinvented himself as Freddie Mercury, became the lead singer of Queen and conquered the world of music as one of the most talented and charismatic rock singers of all time. The film opens with Freddie pumping himself up as he readies himself to go onstage for the most iconic live performance of his career – Live Aid in Wembley Stadium in 1986. Continue reading Better out than in: Freddie Mercury and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody ‘

Poetry corner: ‘Racing down the sun’

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My train to Dublin was at 4.20pm. I was in town by 2.30. This was not an accident. I was on a mission. My intention was to visit the Limerick City Gallery of Art which is located about a hundred metres from the train station. This beautiful old building dates from 1906 and is located on Pery Square in the city.  The exhibitions change every few months. So each time I am home I make a point to pay it a visit to check out the latest display. Continue reading Poetry corner: ‘Racing down the sun’